Readers share their best summer vacation photos. Of 1,000 entries, here are our faves.
The only thing more amazing than the geographic breadth of our readers’ travels is the quality of their pictures in this year’s summer vacation photo edition.
The Travel section asked you to share pictures from your summer 2017 idylls, and you responded with about 1,000 shots. (Suggesting that you’re all journalists at heart, more than 325 of those arrived in the three days before the deadline.) The photographs were taken in French Polynesia; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; and Orange County; Washington state; Brazil; Myanmar and more.
The care with which many of these photos were shot suggests a dedication to photography that goes beyond capturing memories. It speaks to a visual intelligence that has grown more pronounced, in our estimation, as the world increasingly has access to high-quality photography through smartphones.
Well done, readers, and thank you for sharing a world view that reminds us why we love travel.
— Catharine Hamm, Travel editor
Maupiti, French Polynesia
Sara Wong, San Marino
Wong, a 20-year-old biology major at UCLA, spent much of her summer volunteering at a hospital in Samoa. But she also left time for French Polynesia and took a boatload of camera gear. When she reached the peak of Maupiti’s 1,250-foot Mt. Teurafaatiu, she was ready with her Canon EOS Rebel T5i, a remote trigger and a tripod, which she tied to a pole to resist the wind. “It was one of those moments where you feel quite insignificant and humbled, blessed and exhilarated, amazed and appreciative, all at the same time,” Wong wrote.
Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Karen Share, Encino
Who knew crocodiles and caimans secrete “tears” that contain minerals that butterflies need? Share knows now. She took this picture July 2, using a Canon 5D Mark IV with a 400mm lens and a 1.4 x extender as she sat in a bobbing boat. To keep the image sharp, she shot at 1/1600th of a second, ISO 1250.
Rebecca Griffiths, Riverside
Griffiths was walking in Havana on July 1 when she came across this foursome. “My husband is Jamaican, so I'm familiar with how seriously Caribbean men take their games of domino,” she wrote later in an email. She grabbed three shots with her iPhone 7 Plus. She didn’t notice the three empty bottles of rum until later.
Kenley Tiesmeyer, Santa Ana
Sometimes all you need to do is look up — especially if you’re at the fair. Tiesmeyer saw this opportunity on July 15 on her first visit to the OC Fair. She shot it with her iPhone 6.
Christine Pence, Riverside
Pence spent a week in and around Valdez and came home with a lot of bear pictures. The take on July 20 looked different from the others. These two yearling grizzly bears were playing with “ocean junk” near the water’s edge, ignoring their mother's call to leave, Pence recalled. They were so absorbed in playing that they were unaware of Pence and others, snapping pictures from a nearby roadside. She used a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera.
Mary Kaye Ashkenaze, Laguna Niguel
Ashkenaze was in a church balcony on June 9 when she spotted this mother feeding her child. At the same time, the child was feeding greens to the alpaca. She got the shot with her Nikon Coolpix B700.
Kevin Foley, Rancho Palos Verdes
Foley rose before dawn on July 26 and boarded a basket under a big balloon with about 10 other thrill seekers. Soon they were dangling over Cappadocia, which looked like “another planet.” There were dozens of other balloons in the sky too, but Foley turned his Canon M5 Mirrorless camera away from most of the others and toward the sun. That’s when he got this shot. The ride lasted about an hour and cost about $100. “And then they broke open some Champagne for us,” said Foley. “It wasn’t bad to do that all before 6:30 in the morning.”
Banff National Park, Canada
David Leroi, Mar Vista
June 24 was a great day on Bow Lake in Banff National Park, with scattered clouds, calm water and snowy slopes. Leroi was there on his way to a hike with friends. But first he stopped to seize the windless moment — “a classic mirror shot” — with his phone, a Samsung Galaxy S5. By the time his hike was done, Leroi recalled, the wind was up again and the mirror just a lake.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Avery Walsh, Malibu
Walsh was on her way to the Saturday market the morning of Aug. 12 when a man appeared down the block, his upper body buried beneath a load of colorful flowers. So she stalked him. Politely. And eventually he stepped into good light and away from cars and people. That’s when she snapped her iPhone 7.
Matt Cohen, Phoenix
It was nearly sunset on June 29 when Cohen saw this opportunity in the lavender fields of Provence. He’d been shooting for about half an hour, thinking of Van Gogh and all the other Impressionist painters who had worked in settings like this, when the clouds opened and the low sun illuminated the side of the farmhouse. “A visual feast,” he wrote.
Inle Lake, Myanmar
Mike McDonnell, Newbury Park
The morning showers had just stopped. McDonnell was making his way along a bridge over Inle Lake, shooting lily pads with his Canon and a long lens. Suddenly “a farmer, steering his slender teak boat, appeared beneath me,” he wrote in an email. McDonnell decided he didn’t have time to dig a different lens out of his camera bag. He grabbed his iPhone and caught the boat and boatman just before they vanished under the bridge.
Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, Calif.
Kevin Roland, Bakersfield
When the sky gets interesting, Roland and his wife, Ellen, like to hit the road and do night photography. On July 22 with the Milky Way on display, they headed for the Alabama Hills. To get this picture of the stars, Mobius Arch and a young couple, Roland made a 20-second exposure with his Nikon D500, using a 14-24mm lens.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Connie Frank, Beverly Hills
Frank has been on four African safaris. But on June 2, tracking a cheetah, she saw something new. The animal jumped onto a termite mound, first facing away, then toward Frank. She snapped, hoping to catch the “the serious look on [its] face searching for prey.” She was using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS25 pocket camera with a 20x zoom. Frank estimates she was 30 to 40 feet from the cheetah.
Claudia Owens Shields, Covina
It was July 24. Shields and her daughter, Imani Sara, age 14, were enjoying the bluff-top views of Carmet Beach just north of Bodega Bay. Imani, a gymnast, handed her iPhone 5 to her mom, asked for a picture and executed a grand jeté. Mom shot a burst of pictures, including this one.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Julie Means, Corona del Mar
Means spent 12 days in the Caribbean this summer, including a stay at Renaissance’s La Concha Resort on San Juan’s Condado Beach. She loved watching the morning ritual where staffers dragged lounge chairs out to the beach. On Aug. 28, Means pulled out her iPhone 6 and snapped an eerie shot — just one — of the chairs and the tracks in the sand, no workers or guests in sight.
We didn’t receive too many videos, but here is one our photo editors enjoyed: